Blue Carbon

Fact box 8. A 25% emission reduction could be gained from green and blue carbon

reductions needed to keep atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide below 450 ppm (Trumper et al. , 2009).

The most recent estimates indicate that human activities are cur- rently responsible for annual global carbon emissions of around 7–10,000 Tg C yr –1 , of which around 1,500 Tg C or around 15– 20% is the result of land use change. The remaining emissions are from fossil fuel use and cement production (Canadell et al. , 2007). This has led to an average annual rate of increase of CO 2 concentrations in the atmosphere of 1–2 ppm or up to 2,000 Tg C yr –1 for the years 1995–2005 compared with around 1.25 ppm for the years 1960–1995 (IPCC, 2007b; Houghton, 2007). Green carbon: Reducing deforestation rates by 50% by 2050 and then maintaining them at this level until 2100 would avoid the direct release of up to 50 Gt C this century or approximately 555 Tg C yr –1 , which is equivalent to 12–15% of the emissions

Blue carbon: According to this report, protection, improved man- agement and restoration of the ocean’s blue carbon sinks would result in preventing the annual loss of up to 450 Tg C yr –1 , or equiva- lent to a corresponding 10% of the reductions needed. Combined with the green carbon – REDD – the effect would be at least 20–25% of the emission reductions needed – with huge ben- efits to food security, water resources, biodiversity – and the cre- ation of jobs and incomes. But this would require a similar “REDD” programme for oceans as has been established for rainforests – a blue carbon fund.


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